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J Interprof Care. 2019 Sep-Oct;33(5):583-586. doi: 10.1080/13561820.2018.1544118. Epub 2018 Nov 11.

Identifying intangible assets in interprofessional healthcare organizations: feasibility of an asset inventory.

Rider EA1,2,3, Comeau M1,4, Truog RD1,5,6,7, Boyer K1,8, Meyer EC1,5,9.

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Institute for Professionalism & Ethical Practice, Boston Children's Hospital , Boston , MA , USA.
Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School , Boston , MA , USA.
Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Boston Children's Hospital , Boston , MA , USA.
Center for Innovation in Social Work and Health, Boston University School of Social Work , Boston , MA , USA.
Center for Bioethics, Harvard Medical School , Boston , MA , USA.
Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital , Boston , MA , USA.
Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School , Boston , MA , USA.
CHMC Anesthesia Foundation, Inc., Boston Children's Hospital , Boston , MA USA.
Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School , Boston , MA USA.


Healthcare systems increasingly use business models that focus on tangible assets such as finances and facilities. Yet intangible assets, such as values, relationships and human capital, remain critical for understanding the worth of interprofessional healthcare education and collaboration. We implemented a novel interprofessional collaborative pilot exercise to explore the feasibility and usefulness of an Asset Inventory-using KJ methodology and an appreciative inquiry perspective-to identify and better understand intangible assets and their value in interprofessional healthcare education/training organizations, for planning, and as a first step toward informing strategic decision-making. Twenty-eight faculty physicians, nurses, psychosocial and family faculty, educators, health services researchers and administrative staff participated. Participants identified intangible assets in five categories: Philosophy/Mission, Practice/Practical Strategies, Human Capital, Scholarship/Research Productivity, and Partnerships. Participants reported a greater understanding of intangible assets, and increased enthusiasm, organizational confidence, and stakeholder ownership for healthcare education programs. While this study is preliminary, the Asset Inventory may prove useful to enhance understanding of the importance of intangible assets within interprofessional healthcare education/training organizations, to inform planning and decision-making, to identify and foster interprofessional collaborative capacity across clinical and training settings, and to leverage intangible assets in today's rapidly changing business-focused healthcare systems.


Interprofessional collaboration; appreciative inquiry; asset inventory; faculty development; intangible assets; interprofessional education

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